Tuesday, April 28

The Age of Adaline Review

The Age of Adaline
Dir: Lee Toland Krieger
Starring: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, and Amanda Crew

If you had all the time in the world, what would you do? If today would be the oldest that you would ever get, what would you do tomorrow? I would like to think that I would do something positive or influential, but Id probably just read and watch more movies. How could this gift of time ever become a hindrance?  Well, director Lee Toland Krieger attempts to answer some of these questions in “The Age of Adaline”. The roots of the film stem from matters of science fiction however the topic of love is the primary point of focus here. The film touches on love lost, love found, and even love forgotten.  “The Age of Adaline” doesnt delve into the interesting directions that it could but instead offers a harmless date movie with a little science fiction touch to keep things interesting.

Adaline (Blake Lively) is a 29-year-old woman in 1937 who, after a car accident on a stormy night, stops aging. Adalines youthful features remain as her daughter Flemming (Ellen Burstyn) grows older while other loved ones around her age and pass away. Its a lonely life for Adaline who must evade inquisitive government officials and hold her ambitions for love at bay in order to protect her family and herself. Time catches up to the present and Adaline is wise with experience and a knowledge gained over her long life. She can speak different languages, has first-hand insight into historical events, and garners a vast skillset. Adaline meets a man named Ellis and decides to take a chance at love, convinced by the push of her daughter, but her past catches up to her.

At the core of the film exists a narrative device of science fiction, one utilized throughout film history. Constructed through a lightning flash and explained by a voice-over narrator the scene quickly establishes Adaline's agelessness and moves forward. It doesnt try to justify the reasons, and quite frankly doesn't make much sense, but it doesn't seem to matter because this ploy is utilized simply to introduce what the film came to do, which is tell a love story. Adaline cant help but fall in love, even when she doesnt try to fall in love, all the best suitors seem to be traveling the same road she is. The romantic aspect is somewhat dull, almost having a Hallmark movie sentiment. Still, there are moments when the film slightly comes to life, usually in moments when the talented cast is given time and room to work within a scene. Much of what doesnt work with the film is that Adalines life never portrays the quality that she seems so affected by, namely that time has become a burden. Besides the death of a few canine companions and hints at loved ones lost, we never see how the world, in other realms besides love, has caused her pain.

The cast is very good considering some of the situations they are placed in. Blake Lively continues to grow as an actress, this time portraying the affecting qualities of a woman weighed down by time. Harrison Ford plays a charming role as a man awakened by a lost moment in his life. Michiel Huisman is charged with being the perfect man to Adaline, fighting for love with a charismatic sensibility. The best role comes from the character that is most underutilized. Ellen Burstyn is fantastic as Flemming, the lone consistency in Adalines life. In one of the best scenes in the film a young mother and elderly daughter sit across from each other and the familial structure comes to life with playful banter and emotional gesturing.

The film feels lost at times, due largely to the narrative that never fully realizes Adaline's character. Though Blake Lively and the remaining cast do the job of holding the film together, even making a few of the mundane scenes resonate with the charm the film is clearly trying to foster. "The Age of Adaline" doesn't try to be more than a simple romantic film, which is surprising considering it has the potential to have done so much more with the material in hand.

Monte's Rating
2.75 out of 5.00

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